May 22 was the International Day for Biological Diversity – a day to celebrate the complexity of life on our planet. While appreciating the way nature amazes and sustains us, we also are faced with the scary truth: biodiversity is increasingly threatened by climate change. Climate change will likely become a leading cause of species extinction in the coming century. Extreme weather like drought and heavy rains, sea level rise, ocean acidification, and shifting biomes due to changing temperatures all affect nature and in turn, affect us. But climate change is a big idea, and it can be difficult to envision the effects it will have.
That’s why on May 22, zoological institutions and wildlife conservationists around the world “Showed the Wild Face of Climate Change” by connecting climate change effects to animal species through photographs, educational activities, and activities for their visitors. Similar to 350.org’s 2012 photo project “Connect the Dots,” which showed the human face of climate change, this set of photos shows the many ways that climate change puts biodiversity at risk. and unites the world’s conservation organizations in calling for urgent action on climate change from world leaders.
Photos poured in from all seven continents, representing diverse species that feel the effects of climate change. Orangutans at Singapore Zoo gathered together and held a sign with the Z & A for 350 logo prominently displayed. Divers at Two Oceans Aquarium in South Africa held a sign in front of a backdrop of lush sea plants and curious fish. Lemurs at Atlanta Zoo nibbled on fresh fruit carefully laid out by their keepers to spell out 350. Head over and view these photos, and so many more, on Flickr (https://flic.kr/s/aHsjWNxCqt) or on Facebook.
350 parts per million (ppm) is the upper safe level of carbon in the atmosphere. Currently, levels are around 400 ppm. Today's "Show the Wild Face of Climate Change" photos put a face to the urgency of the situation. We hope this collection of photos will serve as a reminder that climate change has and will have huge impacts on biodiversity. For this reason, zoos, aquariums, and conservation organizations join with 350.org in the fight against climate change, calling for immediate action from our governments.